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  • Author or Editor: RICHARD A. ANTHES x
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Richard A. Anthes

Abstract

It is hypothesized that planting bands of vegetation with widths of the order of 50–100 km in semiarid regions could, under favorable large-scale atmospheric conditions, result in increases of convective precipitation. These increases, which could be greater than those associated with the uniform vegetating of large areas, would occur through three major mechanisms. The first would be the modification of the environment to a state more conducive to the formation of moist convection through an increase of low-level moist static energy. This increase would be associated with a decrease in albedo, an increase in net radiation, and an increase in evapotranspiration. The second important mechanism would be the generation of mesoscale (horizontal scale of 20–200 km) circulations associated with the surface inhomogeneities created on this scale by the vegetation. The third mechanism would be the increase of atmospheric water vapor through decreased runoff and increased evaporation.

A number of observational and theoretical studies which have a bearing on the above hypothesis are reviewed. Although individual studies may contain large uncertainties, taken together they provide considerable support for the hypothesis. In these studies, convective rainfall appears to be associated with increases in vegetation and with variations in surface characteristics in many parts of the world on scales ranging from 10 km to large fractions of continents.

A review of recent agricultural research indicates that a variety of plants that thrive in semiarid regions (some under irrigation with saline water) could be suitable for cultivation. Many of these have potential economic value, which could defray or even exceed the cost of the cultivation.

Finally, a preliminary estimate of the preferred horizontal scale of the vegetation bands is made using a linear model. For bands of width less than about 20 km, horizontal mixing limits the vertical penetration of the surface heating perturbation to heights too small to be effective in generating moist convection. For larger scales (widths ∼ 100 km), however, it appears that vertical circulations with order of magnitude 10 cm s−1 that extend to heights of 1 km or more are possible. When combined with increases in low-level moist static energy, circulations of this magnitude and scale appear to be capable of initiating and enhancing moist convection under appropriate atmospheric conditions. Further studies with more realistic models are necessary to obtain a more definitive evaluation of the hypothesis.

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Dalin Zhang
and
Richard A. Anthes

Abstract

A high-resolution, one-dimensional, moist planetary boundary layer (PBL) model is developed following Blackadar, and verified using the 10 April 1979 SESAME data set. The model consists of two modules to predict the time-dependent behavior of the PBL under various surface characteristics. Under stable conditions, turbulent fluxes are related to a local Richardson number. In contrast, under conditions of free convection, the exchange of heat, moisture and momentum occurs through mixing between convective elements originating at the surface and environmental air in the PBL.

Sensitivity tests showed that the daytime PBL structure is most sensitive to moisture availability, roughness length, albedo and thermal capacity, in that order. It is less sensitive in the nighttime to the above parameters. The wind profile is extremely sensitive to the specified geostrophic wind profile at all times. Simulations over both dry and moist terrain indicate that both the free convection (daytime) and the stable (nocturnal) modules are capable of accurately simulating the diurnal PBL evolution under nonsteady geostrophic conditions, provided accurate, time-dependent geostrophic wind profiles are available. With steady geostrophic forcing, the simulations are less realistic.

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Niels E. Busch
,
Simon W. Chang
, and
Richard A. Anthes

Abstract

In this paper a simple model of the planetary boundary layer (PBL) is proposed. The surface layer is modeled according to established similarity theory. Above the surface layer a prognostic equation for the mixing length is introduced. The time-dependent mixing length is a function of the PBL characteristics, including the height of the capping inversion, the local friction velocity and the surface heat flux. In a preliminary experiment, the behavior of the PBL is compared with observations from the Great Plains Experiment.

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Michael Bevis
,
Steven Businger
,
Steven Chiswell
,
Thomas A. Herring
,
Richard A. Anthes
,
Christian Rocken
, and
Randolph H. Ware

Abstract

Emerging networks of Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers can be used in the remote sensing of atmospheric water vapor. The time-varying zenith wet delay observed at each GPS receiver in a network can be transformed into an estimate of the precipitable water overlying that receiver. This transformation is achieved by multiplying the zenith wet delay by a factor whose magnitude is a function of certain constants related to the refractivity of moist air and of the weighted mean temperature of the atmosphere. The mean temperature varies in space and time and must be estimated a priori in order to transform an observed zenith wet delay into an estimate of precipitable water. We show that the relative error introduced during this transformation closely approximates the relative error in the predicted mean temperature. Numerical weather models can be used to predict the mean temperature with an rms relative error of less than 1%.

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